Meet our Trainers
The Oral History Society works in conjunction with the British Library to offer training courses in various practical aspects of oral history. The courses are taught by accredited trainers who meet annually to share ideas and best practice and reflect on evaluation feedback from course attendees.
At present I’m the Vice Chair of the OHS but I’ve been a Trustee since the 1980s. I’m also a regional network representative for Wales and an accredited oral history trainer. I’m now retired, but before that I worked for many years at the open-air museum at St Fagans, Cardiff. I was initially employed as a Welsh language dialect researcher, when the museum was still known as the Welsh Folk Museum. I then worked there as a sound archivist and oral historian, eventually becoming Keeper of History and Archaeology for the National Museum of Wales as a whole. Before retiring, I was very proud to have led the content team for the reimagining of St Fagans as a participatory national museum of history – a project that resulted in the museum being awarded the Arts Fund Museum of the Year in 2019. If you are in Wales and would like advice or training in oral history, please get in touch.
Rwy’n siarad Cymraeg ac wedi gweithio gyda chymunedau ar hyd a lled Cymru. Os ydych yn gwneud prosiect hanes llafar trwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg, mae pob croeso ichi gysylltu am gyngor.
My roles within the OHS are Trustee, Regional Network Representative (South Yorkshire), Accredited Trainer and Website Officer. I teach public health subjects and oral history in palliative care in the Division of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Sheffield. I have worked on numerous palliative care and end of life research studies and in 2007 established an oral history project as a service for patients in a Palliative Care Unit in Sheffield. This project continues to offer patients an opportunity to create life history recordings as personal and family records and for research. I also lead an Oral History Group which focuses on oral history research in healthcare and collaborates with care providers in establishing new oral history projects. Key to this work has been the development of a bespoke training and development programme for hospices and palliative care centres.
I am a Trustee of the Oral History Society, one of its Accredited Trainers, and a Regional Network representative for Leicestershire and Rutland. I also edit the Current British Work section of Oral History, the Society’s journal. I started my oral history career in the 1990s in a community history unit at Leicester City Council, and in 2001 I helped to establish the HLF-funded East Midlands Oral History Archive (EMOHA) at the University of Leicester, where I was Project Manager for three years. I have a particular interest in using oral history to research and interpret family history, and along with my colleague Mary Stewart I contributed an article on the subject, ‘Exploring encounters between families, their histories and archived oral histories’, to the Archives and Records journal in April 2017. Other articles include ‘Moving on: reflections on oral history and migrant communities in Britain’ in Oral History, Volume 34, No. 1. I have also written or edited a range of books using oral histories. I am now semi-retired but continue to teach modern British history and local history to adult students alongside my involvement in the Oral History Society.
I’m a regional networker for Scotland for the OHS and a BL/OHS accredited oral history trainer. In addition, I deliver training for the Scottish Oral History Centre at the University of Strathclyde, where I am a research associate and teach on various undergraduate and postgraduate history modules, including the ‘Oral History Theory and Practice’ and ‘Work and Community Placement in Oral History’ modules. I am also a part-time lecturer with the Centre for History at the University of the Highlands and Islands and undertake freelance work as an oral historian, proofreader and copy-editor. I actively undertake oral history research, and am currently working on a BA/Leverhulme-funded project entitled ‘Rainbows in the Windows: An Oral History of Young Families in Britain in the COVID-19 Pandemic’. Please do get in touch if you are in Scotland and would like any advice on oral history.
I began recording people’s memories in 1974, using the collected reminiscences as the source for local books. I co-founded Living Archive Milton Keynes (www.livingarchive.org.uk) and was its General Manager from 1992 to 2002 and am currently its Chairman. Living Archive’s basic premise is that everybody has a story to tell. Such stories and other primary source materials have inspired multifarious high-quality artistic, creative and educational activities including large scale musical documentary plays, books, radio and video documentaries, textile projects, exhibitions and websites. I am an accredited Oral History Society trainer and have taught many tailored introductory courses, as well a courses in an introduction to video recording oral histories and digital sound editing. Over the last few years I have been recording many more interviews on video and using them to produce documentaries, as well as helping others do the same.
My current work revolves around training, interviewing, audio editing and creating podcasts, and managing oral history projects for the heritage, community and education sectors. This takes me all over the West Midlands and beyond where I advise and work with museums, galleries, schools, councils, community groups, arts organisations and wildlife charities. My career started as a BBC Radio Producer and branched into oral history after working as a producer on ‘The Century Speaks’ in 1999. I am an OHS accredited trainer and a key adviser on working with schools and young people. I co-produced the school resources on the OHS website and am a member of the Creative Special Interest Group. Do have a look at my website or give me a call.
I am an Oral History Society accredited trainer on the introductory and digital editing courses. I am also a regional network representative for South Yorkshire. I am currently completing a PhD “Understanding oral history in palliative and supportive care” in the Health Sciences School at the University of Sheffield. I have been an oral historian for over 15 years, starting my career as an interviewer and coordinator on an oral history in palliative care service at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals. I have also managed and consulted on several heritage oral history projects throughout the UK and worked for clients including England Heritage and the Arts Council. I am particularly interested in oral history as a form of digital legacy, and the ethics of its public reuse in the digital realm. I teach this topic at undergraduate level at the University of Sheffield. If you’re looking for oral history advice or training in or around South Yorkshire, please get in touch.
I am Lead Curator of Oral History at the British Library and Director of National Life Stories, the oral history fieldwork charity. It has been my privilege to be a Trustee of the Society since 2008, and I recently led a review of the Society’s governance. I have helped to organise many OHS conferences and events, I sit on the Society’s Finance Sub-Committee and am an accredited Oral History Society/British Library trainer specialising in courses on Archival Management of Oral History and Data Protection. As part of the British Library’s oral history team I work to add diverse voices from across the UK to the Library’s Sound Archive, particularly through academic and community partnerships, and I recently was curatorial lead on an audio resource exploring the history of domestic life. I have project-managed several oral history fieldwork projects gathering long life story interviews – including on the UK Water Industry and Baring Bank. I am currently researching how oral history and family history intersect, which builds upon my studies of my own family history, and I have been delighted to collaborate with fellow OHS Trustees on advice for family historians using oral history. As a member of the #HistoriansCollaborate Network, we are bringing together academic, community and family historians, with archive and museum professionals to interrogate how we research the past in order to foster better collaboration.
I first discovered oral history when I was studying for a doctorate in political history, since when I helped establish the Bradford Heritage Recording Project in the early 1980s, working as a museum curator, before a period in television. From 1988 until my recent retirement, I was Lead Curator of Oral History at the British Library, and Director of National Life Stories since 1996, heading a team of interviewers, archivists and transcribers involved in oral history collecting and fieldwork in a variety of sectors: from arts and crafts to business and finance, from the utilities to science, from architecture to publishing. I’ve been Secretary of the Oral History Society and an editor of Oral History Journal since the later 1980s. I’ve acted as an advisor to a range of oral history organisations around the world, including the National Lottery Heritage Fund (HLF) and BBC Radio in the UK, and projects in Canada, Greece, India, Australia, Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, China and Ireland. In 2007 I was awarded an honorary DLitt by the University of Huddersfield. My publications include The Oral History Reader (Routledge, third edition 2015, with Al Thomson). My last major project before retiring was ‘Unlocking Our Sound Heritage’, an ambitious five-year £18.8m project to digitally preserve 100,000 of the nation’s most rare and vulnerable sound recordings, both at the British Library and around the UK, working with a consortium partnership network of ten regional audio preservation centres.
I have worked for many years as an accredited trainer in oral history both in the UK and abroad (most recently with a NGO in Beirut). I also run oral history projects and act as an oral history consultant in a wide variety of settings, from galleries and museums to schools, youth groups and heritage, arts and community organisations. My involvement in the field began in the mid ‘70s in Milton Keynes, alongside Roger Kitchen and Roy Nevitt at The Living Archive. That eventually led to my researching, writing and mostly directing 15 large-scale oral history-based community plays, focusing on, for example, steel workers, miners, railway workers or communities that have virtually disappeared (such as the West End of Derby).
2018-’19 I was the National Life Stories Goodison Fellow, writing Miriam, a stage play dealing with attitudes towards presentation of the Holocaust, taking as its starting point the Holocaust testimonies held at the British Library. I have also worked extensively as a playwright/ scriptwriter for non-oral history-based theatre, radio and television, and have written 2 books on scriptwriting. I am at present Chair of the OHS Environment and Climate Change Special Interest Group.
I’m a co-director of On the Record, an oral history and creative arts organisation. I began working as an oral historian in 2008, and have also worked as a facilitator and participatory trainer around community organising, housing and homelessness. I’ve managed managed numerous oral history and community heritage projects, including Sounds from the Park: an oral history of Speakers’ Corner, A Hackney Autobiography: Remembering Centerprise, Holding the Baby: oral histories of childcare and parenting in East London, Doing it Ourselvees: the First Neighbourhood Co-operative Nursery, Writing and Reading Newham and Housmans: 60 Years of Books and Activism. I have curated several exhibitions, authored books including The Lime Green Mystery: An Oral History of the Centerprise Co-operative and produced podcasts. Currently, my work focuses on histories of childcare and parenting, community and radical bookshops and the joys of writing and reading.